“The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57 NKJV)
After Paul finished trash talking death, he ended the meat of this letter to the Corinthians by reminding them of the hope of all Christians: victory in Christ. It’s important to realize that when Paul talks of the sting of death, there’s a distinction between sin and sins. Sins are those things we do that are contrary to the will of God; sin is the state of living separated from God. When Paul said that the sting of death is sin, he was talking about a life separated from God. The sting of death is a result of the lack of hope for eternity. The strength of that separation from God is shown by the law, which reveals how far we are from God and His expectations for us. We lose that fear, that sting of death, only through Jesus Christ which is why Paul thanks God for that victory. As Christians, we live in relationship with God while we walk this earth and for eternity. We have hope!
If we understood the nature of our relationship with God, we’d never have fear. We experience God’s love through Jesus Christ. And, as Paul noted in the book of Romans, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. (Romans 8) I can think of some things that are so horrible that were I to do them, my wife would recoil in disgust and leave me. My actions would separate me from her. But nothing I’ve ever done, and nothing I will ever do will surprise God. He knew a about me and Jesus still died on the cross to take my place when sin, separation from God, was defeated at the cross. Because I am free from sin (separation from God) I can grow toward living free from sins (doing wrong things.) But, when I do something wrong, I’m free from the fear of the sting of death. I know that God still loves me. Thanks be to God for the victory over sin and death.
Lord, thank you for removing the fear of death and the cringing fear of You. Let me live so that I show others the victory I have over sin and death because of what You did.